The 2012 NFL Draft came to a close Saturday night. Forty-one former Big Ten stars were selected during the three-day event in New York, including four first-rounders: Iowa’s Riley Reiff, Illinois’ Whitney Mercilus, Wisconsin Kevin Zeitler and Illinois’ A.J. Jenkins. Mercilus and Jenkins were the first of four Illini drafted in the first 48 picks. Even more impressive, four of the Big Ten’s first six players off the board were Illini. Catch up on the entire draft with FoxSports.com’s Draft Tracker and see all the Big Ten picks in this post.
The Michigan State football team held its annual spring game Saturday afternoon at Spartan Stadium. It was an entertaining and insightful day in East Lansing, Mich., as Mark Dantonio gave BTN an all-access pass to the scrimmage. Watch now as Lisa Byington was allowed into the Michigan State huddle, plus get interviews and highlights from Saturday’s 14-2 decision in this post. Also, see what BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart learned from the spring game and read some of the best tweets that were sent out during the action.
Spring games are great because they give fans a glimpse into what their teams will look like in the fall. But, lets face it, the games lack the excitement and entertainment of a real game. Saturday’s Michigan State game had a moment of great entertainment, though. Mark Dantonio made sure of it, as he put Sparty, Michigan State’s chiseled mascot, in the backfield and dialed up a running play. Let’s just say no one will confuse Sparty with Le’Veon Bell, because the mascot struggled on the play, losing yards and putting the ball on the ground. To be fair, the defense was offside. Either way, it was a priceless moment.
The last time we saw former Michigan State star linebacker Greg Jones he was proposing to his girlfriend on the field following the New York Giants’ Super Bowl XLVI win. On Saturday, he was an honorary captain for Michigan State’s spring game at Spartan Stadium. Watch Lisa Byington’s interview with the two-time first team All American now. Also, Byington caught up with former Spartan star DT Jerel Worthy, who was selected by the Green Bay Packers on Friday. Watch Worthy’s interview in this post.
Illinois softball used a disciplined approach at the plate to secure a 5-1 victory over No. 22 Michigan in eight innings at Alumni Field on Saturday afternoon. While the Illini lineup worked eight walks over the contest, the most issued by the UM pitching staff on the season, Illinois broke through for five runs in the top of the eighth to earn the win against the Big Ten-leading Wolverines, who entered the day with a 12-3 conference record. Watch our highlights from the game and read the full recap at FightingIllini.com.
Northwestern rallied for four runs in the bottom of the seventh inning but came up a run short in the end as the Wildcats dropped a 5-4 decision to Illinois Saturday afternoon at Rocky Miller Park. See the RECAP & BOX SCORE and check out our Saturday Big Ten baseball roundup, courtesy of BigTen.org in this post.
The Big Ten wraps up spring drills this Saturday with Michigan State and Wisconsin being the last two schools to finish. And, in some ways, it’s fitting they punctuate spring practices in the Big Ten Conference. The Spartans and Badgers met last season in the inaugural Big Ten title game, with Wisconsin pulling an exhilarating 42-39 victory. Earlier in the season the teams played perhaps the game of the year in the Big Ten, with Michigan State claiming a 37-31 win in East Lansing on a last-second Hail Mary pass from Kirk Cousins to Keith Nichol that forever will be part of Spartan lore.